Audio forensics is an area of forensic science dealing specifically with the acquisition, identification, and analysis of digital audio recordings, which might eventually be submitted as evidence in a court of law, either as criminal evidence or as testimony in a civil case.
Digital Audio Recordings (DAAs)
Digital audio recordings (DAAs) are those in which sound is saved on digital media such as CDs, MP3s, etc. Such recordings can range from ordinary conversation to audio recordings of conversations that have been recorded using nanny cams in children’s nannies’ rooms. In most cases, audio recordings will not reveal the subjects’ actual identities in the tapes, but they can often show details of what took place during the not audible exchanges.
Tools Used in Forensic Audio
There are numerous tools used in audio forensics and audio restoration which depend on digital technology. Among the tools are computers, mobile phone forensic tools, fax machines, digital camera equipment, and surveillance equipment. One software used for audio analysis is Wachovia’s Free Text Software (TFS), a word processor. Forensic text analysis programs are also available.
One tool in forensics that is often used is the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The NCIC, together with many other similar web-based resources, operates as an online repository. It provides users with national crime information and arrest and prosecution records, search results for state criminal histories, fingerprints, and mugshot databases. Also, the NCIC distributes several collections of mug shot files. Mugshot files are not the same as police mug shots.
The NCSIDR, a part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is another online database used in the analysis of digital information. The NCSIDR was created as a Joint Development Program between the FBI and the NCIC. These databases provide users with an unprecedented wealth of information about people. Users can easily find background check records, warrant searches, employment history, educational records, outstanding warrants, bankruptcy filings, and more. These tools are essential for any person to have.
Voice Recognition Tools
On the other hand, audio forensics tools have become a critical component of all computer forensics examinations. Among them are voice recognition tools, text extraction tools, data extraction tools, and other extraction tools. Voice recognition tools can be used to analyze voice samples from a computer hard drive, CD, or other electronic media such as voice mail. Text extraction tools to extract words from documents. Data extraction tools are used to examine deleted files and recover critical information from them.
Computer forensics experts use digital audio forensics tools to determine if emails exist between known parties. They also look for deleted text messages. Digital forensics experts analyze digital evidence such as cameras and other computer devices. The experts extract information from memory cards, compact disks, external hard drives, laptops, spy gadgets, and other digital media such as digital photographs and videos.
Essential Tasks for Audio Forensic Experts
Experts in audio forensics perform other essential tasks, such as cell phone forensics. They determine whether numbers that are displayed on caller ID correspond to legitimate cellular phone numbers. They likewise determine whether voice patterns found in call logs correspond to that of legitimate callers. They also test digital evidence with a state-of-the-art laboratory to ensure quality evidence. With their high-tech equipment and skills, audio forensics experts help the court’s process cases using reliable information obtained from digital sources.
Computer forensics professionals conduct investigations for law enforcement agencies, FBI, IRS, insurance companies, creditors, private investigators, employers, banks, insurance firms, financial institutions, corporations, public authorities, etc. They conduct interviews, collect evidence, analyze the collected evidence, communicate with lawyers, witnesses, suspects, etc. Audio forensics experts play an integral part in investigations by providing crucial evidence. Thus, everyone needs to equip themselves with the latest technology related to computer forensics to conduct investigative activities competently and capably.